The hunger goes on

Cholera, malaria, famine and drought. These are things which could easily shake the foundations of any nation.  However, the people of Somalia have been fighting hard to live on.  But the sheer resilience of these people is once again being put to the test with the mindless theft of food supplies.

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Preying on the weak is a natural law. But the theft of the food supplies of the World Food program by the corrupt officials and middlemen in Somalia takes this to a whole different level. Even more ghastly are the justifications that the UN and the officials have come up with.

In a press conference, Mark Bowden, the head of United Nations humanitarian operations in Somalia said that the theft was ‘marginal’ compared to the amount of food being supplied. But according to the Somali government more than 50% of the total supplies are being stolen and then resold in the market.

This is certainly not something new. This sort of exploitation of a situation of crisis has been happening for a long time and is a deep rooted problem in societies with a deficit. Somalia, Sudan, Philippines, Cambodia and Cuba are classic examples where such pilfering has been prominent.

According to one ‘business man’ in Somalia, this thieving is for the good of the people. This way, even though the food was being looted, it still ended up in local markets, having the ancillary effect of reducing overall food prices and making food more affordable for the poor.

However the people here are not happy having to pay for something that is completely free. A report on Al-Jazeera showed the people describing how the food packets were taken from them as soon as journalists had finished filming them being delivered.

The picture this paints for the Somali’s is certainly not pretty. UN officials predict that the famine could be the worst in 60 years and coupled with the relentless conflict, the situation is dire. Thousands of Somali’s have fled to nearby African and Asian countries such as Kenya, Saudi Arabia and so on.

And when they move into these places, they being with them the cholera, malaria and malnutrition that has become symbolic of Somalia. After 20 years of strife and hunger, it is time these people get a break. But that seems to be an impossible dream.

As BR Amdekar said: “Victory is always in economics.”


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